Gift guide for the cooking nerd

Sometimes I watch Mad Men and wince when the advertising execs assume that women will want kitchen tools or things to make dinner parties easier – not just because of the obvious misogyny, but because in my case, it is so true.  A cute apron?  Sturdy, colorful kitchen utensils?  Razor-sharp knives?  Voodoo doll toothpick holder?  New serving platters?  Do they sparkle?  COUNT ME IN.

Boojiboo retro aprons on Etsy, $28.75 + shipping

For the cook who loves vintage clothing and doesn’t particularly love a mess, I highly recommend any apron from Boojiboo.  I own two myself, and can vouch for their quality, sturdiness, fit, and overall cuteness.  Plus, it’s cool to support independent sellers.  Browsing her Etsy site is dangerous: she already has some adorable retro holiday patterned aprons up.  Must…not…buy… must not host another holiday event…

STAB. Stab stabbity stab stab stab! $11.84 on

For the host or hostess with barely suppressed anger issues (not me, of course) or who just likes passive-aggressively poking at others, why not the Fred voodoo doll toothpick holder?  At $11.84 (and sometimes lower) on Amazon, it’s a great “small gift” or stocking stuffer that is sure to get a chuckle out of visitors.  (I own one and people constantly comment on it.)  Fred has tons of similar silly kitchen gadgets – check them out here.

Joseph Joseph heat-resistant kitchen utensils, $26.47 on Amazon

My old kitchen utensils were biting the dust, one by one – small wonder after heavy use for over four years.  While browsing Amazon one night, I came upon these heat-resistant (up to 480 degrees) utensils that are not only colorful and bright, but are weighted at the handle so the “active” portion of the utensil stays off the counter.  Having used them for several months now, they live up to my expectations and then some.  And did I mention they’re pretty colors?

If you want to get them with a carousel to hold them, that’ll cost you extra.

Shun 8" Chef's Knife, $139.95 on Amazon

And now, back to the pointy things.  For anyone who has never had a really good knife before, put this on your wishlist now.  Sure, the price initially makes me throw up a little in my mouth, but it pays off in the kitchen.  My +1 got the Santoku and paring knives a year or two ago, and, well, let’s just say they sweeten the relationship deal.  Also, were we ever to break up, he would have to pry them from my cold, dead hands, and even then, I would hope rigor mortis would set in.  Point being: a good knife is an absolute necessity, so if the cook in your life doesn’t have one, consider this.

Vintage Barbie Learns To Cook reproduction, various prices on Google Shopping and Amazon

Is your cooking fan also a Barbie fan?  (Really?  Is it me?)  Try finding the 2007 reproduction of the vintage Barbie Learns to Cook doll. It comes in an adorable display box, and if you want the brunette “platinum” edition, that will cost you extra.  About three times as much extra.

Holiday Cocktails card deck, $11.86 on Amazon (and sometimes can be found cheaper elsewhere)

Finally, because no holiday is complete without a little extra cheer, your friends (or you) might enjoy this recipe card deck (paired with a good bottle of booze, if you’re feeling fancy).  It has a lot of standard cocktails, but some have wintry twists.  There are also non-alcoholic drinks, suggestions for garnishes, and a detailed explanation of what basic ingredients and liquors one should generally have on hand.  I find the latter feature particularly useful, and it’s a nice, compact size with great photos.

For more good suggestions, check out Smitten Kitchen’s Gift Guide.  Hers is practical where mine delights in its ridiculousness.

What has been your favorite kitchen/cooking/entertaining gift?


4 responses to “Gift guide for the cooking nerd

    • The tip of mine BROKE OFF the other day, although I have no idea where. It’s 3 months old and while I use it often, it’s not as though I’m brutalizing it. I’m so peeved.

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